Richard W. Ireton - Horns - 1952-1953, 1955
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Ladies & Gentlemen, may we present;  "The Old Man of the Corps!" ***

I was first with the Keesler AFB Drum Corps from August of 1952 until May of 1953 while attending Airborne Radar School.  Fortunately, I had the opportunity to join the corps again 1955 when I returned to KAFB for  ’71 school. It was a great fun and a chance for me to continue the drum corps experience I had before enlisting in the Air Force.  M/Sgt. J.O. Dant was the NCO in charge of the Corps and I believe that he may have been the first leader of the KAFB Drum Corps.

The Keesler Drum Corps participated in many local functions.  I can remember parades in Bay St. Louis, Psacagoula, and Biloxi in Mississippi and Morgan City and New Orleans in Louisiana to name a few.  We played for student shift change and retreat at times.  Also, members of the horn section were called to play Taps as funerals as the need arose.

'55 Class Picture

Here is a "Class Picture" of the corps in 1955.

My other drum corps experience started in 1950 when I joined the McFarland Post Cadets junior corps in Burlington, NJ. This was my first corps and I started out playing a Tenor Drum.  It didn’t take me long to learn that it was a lot easier to carry a bugle on a long march so I switched to horn.

Later in 1951 I moved on to the Highlanders which was McFarland American Legion Post senior corps and I remained with that outfit until I joined the Air Force in June of 1952.

After my second tour of Keesler I was assigned to the 3rd Troop carrier Sq. at Donaldson AFB (The Airlift Capital of the World) in Greenville, SC.  There I joined the Drum Corps at the local American Legion Post.  Unfortunately, due to the ravages of time, I cannot remember the name of the Post or the Corps.  I do remember we competed in a state Legion competition held in Charleston, SC.

Biloxi Parade

This is a press photo of the Corps on parade. 
If my memory serves me correct, we are in Biloxi.

Upon leaving the Air Force in 1954 I became a member of the Jersey Devils.  This was a senior corps sponsored by American Legion Post 26 of Bordentown, NJ.  Alas, this was my last drum corps.  Due to marriage and the demands of my job I no longer had free time for all of my interest so the only musical interest I had after that time was S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A.

A brisk salute to all who made Drum Corps everywhere a special place!

Richard Ireton
Lastly, here is one of me in the uniforms we wore in 1952.  

I will send
you some more information later and sign the guest book after I have a chance to check on a couple of dates...  It's been more than fifty years so my memory is a little clouded.  Regards, Richard

*** Let it be known that the designation, "Old Man of the Corps" is a most distinguished one.  Richard, our hats are off to you, Sir!

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